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11th Dec 2023

Government set to approve large benefits cuts for Ukrainian refugees



Welfare payments will be cut under the proposals.

The Irish government are set to approve reductions in benefits paid to refugees fleeing Ukraine, according to reports.

Roderic O’Garman, the Minister for Integration, will reportedly table a proposal that would see welfare benefits cut for Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.

Under the measures, state-provided accommodation would be limited to a maximum of 90 days. The measure comes as pressure on accommodation in Ireland continues to worsen.

According to The Irish Times, the measures are:

  • Welfare payments will be reduced from the current level of €220 per week to €38.80 per week – which is the amount paid under direct provision.
  • State-provided accommodation would be limited to a maximum of 90 days.

The proposal will reportedly be discussed at the Cabinet Committee on Ukraine on Monday (December 11), before going before the Cabinet on Tuesday.

According to reports, the measures would not apply to existing Ukrainian refugees in Ireland, and only to future arrivals. There are currently around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in the country.

If the measure is approved by the Cabinet, there would need to be legislative changes in 2024 before.

According to The Irish Times, campaigners for refugees have warned against the plan.

The Irish Refugee Council have said that it would be putting ‘short-term deterrence over long-term planning’ and that refugees would find it ‘difficult if not impossible’ to find accommodation after the 90-day period for state-provided accommodation expired.

In November, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Ireland needed to ‘slow the flow’ of Ukrainian refugees coming into the country.

“Migration is a good thing for Ireland,” Varadkar told RTÉ.

“When it comes to irregular migration, that’s people coming from Ukraine or people seeking international protection.

“I think one of the things we have to do when we have to be honest with each other about this, is to make sure that what we offer – in terms of accommodation, in terms of work, in terms of money – is similar to what’s offered in other EU countries.”

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